Many of you had expressed much frustration over the drafting strategy of the Raiders, particularly free agency, and I am trying to make an attempt at explaining what might be happening. This is not the pattern of recent years, but a pattern that seems to be emerging particularly over the last 2 drafts. The draft seems to appear like Old School Raiders techniques that I used to see from their winning days. Using Panty Raider's terminology, for those of you who had read me, I had been pimping that winners are built through the college draft. I am not against using free agency, but that FA should only be minimally used as a strategy that is to fill an obvious and unavoidable void that HAS TO be filled. This strategy is not my idea; rather, it is the strategy of the Old Raider School, and it is the strategy of today's winners, like the Steelers and Patriots who have not ever seemed to lose this strategy over the years and continue to be winners. Now, I could be wrong, but it seems to me that this is what the Raiders are returning to, and frankly, I am excited about it. Let's take a closer look at their strategy.
Look at last year's draft and you have all these very successful players, e.g., Houston, Ford, McLain, & Veldheer. There are a few other players that have hung on, some of whom may still be promising, e.g., B. Campbell, Goethel, Ware, & McFadden. The Raiders drafted smartly this draft in filling needed holes with Wiz, Barks, Moore, DVD, Chekwa, etc. If this draft is successful as the last, the Raiders really will return to championship form, and many are predicting playoff potential. This can only work if the Raider drafting is as keen as before where they hit on good players and skip bad ones. I think Al & Hue got on the same page and noted the frustration of DeAngelo, Javon, Randy, Warren, etc. and noted that so much experienced FA is not the answer so they avoided it. The only FA of need that they sought was Gaither. I believe they wanted to hold onto Zach, and the Boss signing makes sense - to fill positions of need that really had to be filled. However, only one big-time FA was sought in Gaither. This is reminiscent of the few big agents that came from elsewhere, such as Hendricks, Brown (Willie & Bob), Matuszak, etc. If they repeat the pattern of drafting as they did these past 2 drafts and draft successfu players, I think they really did return to their roots.
The Raiders were bullies in the past, and this is what Hue is trying to do today. Perhaps Al finally found his next Madden in Hue because Madden was by all means a bully builder. Note the "next man up" strategy. When we traded Chester, it was next man up. I mean, Casper was not exactly proven when he stepped in and everyone was shocked at the trading of Chester, though people did not really complain because they felt the Raiders new what they were doing, especially because it was felt that Casper was pure true Raider material. Likewise, when Casper was traded, Christiansen was the next man up. We did not have depth at TE at that time when Christiansen stepped up, but Al was a real dealer in those days and immediately picked up super-duper pro bowl TE Ted Kwalick from the 9ers, but he could not come off the bench I presume because it was Christiansen who was true Raider material. The next-man-up strategy is also exemplified with the notion of replacing through the draft and perhaps we can see the pattern in the o-line and the cornerbacks. I don't know, just trying to make sense of all of it. The Raiders also no longer want to jump the gun in their strategy, which is why they did not pick up a developmental quarterback. They wanted to develop Kaepernick because that's who they targeted, and since they did not get him, they will wait with patience until the right project comes along. Patience also seemed to be a Raider strategy.
Well, those are some of my insights. Hope they helped make sense of what's going on and perhaps alleviate some of your frustration. Perhaps you old-timers might chime in, add, and tweak my strategy. The notion of returning to Old School Raider drafting is a very fascinating prospect to me because it was a proven one that produced winners for the first 30 years of Raider football. Surely, such as strategy cannot become outdated because the most successful teams are currently using that strategy. What do you think?